PNE boss has familiar face as ally

Familiar: Simon Grayson knows Peter Ridsdale well
Familiar: Simon Grayson knows Peter Ridsdale well
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Preston North End boss Simon Grayson believes his enduring relationship with Peter Ridsdale can be a fruitful one for his new club.

The pair go back a long way – to a time when the newly-appointed PNE boss was a youngster making his way in the game at Leeds United.

Ridsdale – now an advisor to PNE owner Trevor Hemmings – was on the board at Elland Road and, of course, later went on to become the club’s chairman.

Grayson said: “When I was a kid at Leeds, Peter was on the Board and he used to come down to training and watch the reserves, as well as the first team.

“I got to know him really well.

“Over the years, our paths have crossed on many occasions with the various teams I have been involved with as a manager and player.

“I’ve got a good relationship with him – and it’s nice to work with him.

“Hopefully we can be together for a long time to take this club forward.

“If you look at what Peter’s done over his career, at Leeds United they had their best period in many years when he was chairman.

“Obviously things went from there, but he had a great say in what happened at Cardiff – and they’ve moved on.

“Hopefully, it will be the third time for a club to make progression.”

Grayson, who takes charge of North End for the first time today against League One leaders Swindon Town at the County Ground, is keen to build a happy environment at Deepdale

And initial reports this week indicate the players are more relaxed and comfortable as they go about their work. Grayson added: “The man-management side of the game has always been a major part, from when I was a player and the managers I used to work under.

“The managers I played under were all very keen on team spirit and how to deal with players and get the best out of them.

“I have been no different as a manager at the clubs which I have been at.

“I have always tried to create a happy environment where the players are happy to come into work and have got a smile on their faces.

“But they know they have to work hard once they are here.

“I will have a laugh and joke with anybody – players included.

“But when the work starts, we work.

“If anybody steps out of line, I will let them know about it.

“But it has to be a place where the players enjoy going to, because if you have got that and there’s a really good buzz around the club, you will get an extra 10,15, 20 per cent out of the players.

“That’s what we need to do from now until the end of the season and for many years to come.”

Grayson revealed he has been set no goals this season by owner Hemmings.

“I’ve been given no targets,” he said. “Just to win as many games as possible and we will be trying to do that.

“We want to get some momentum going so we can finish the season off well.

“If we can finish the season positively, then it will set things up for next season.”